designing, estonian knitting

le Tour, sans gansey?

For the last 3 years, I’ve participated in the Tour de France Knitalong, watching those amazing cyclists while working towards knitting ganseys. The gansey theme was at first completely accidental; I’d been wanting to learn how to construct a gansey, and figured that the Sampler Gansey from Beth Brown-Reinsel’s fantastic book would make a nice Tour project. That, it did, and I followed it up with a self-designed traditional gansey the next year, and then a self-designed gansey-inspired fitted short sleeve sweater, the next.

But this year? It just didn’t happen. The Tour happened to coincide with the 6-week condensed course I’m teaching this summer, and so while I’ve made time to watch each stage of the Tour, my time has been spent doing course-prep, rather than knitting. C’est la vie!

I haven’t completely stopped knitting, though. I mentioned here awhile ago that a friend had asked me if I would be willing to knit her a maple leaf cardigan, if she were to buy the yarn. I agreed, since I knew I’d be working on writing up a pattern for that sweater over the summer, and having the opportunity to think through a larger size on the needles, rather than in the abstract, would be helpful. Well, I’ve started putting the pattern together in earnest now, and have also begun the second sweater:


The yarn is the same amazing Beaverslide yarn I used in my own cardigan, this time in a deep reddish color called “Chokecherry Heather”. I can’t say enough good things about Beaverslide’s yarn, so I’m really excited to have an excuse to knit with it again (and to write a pattern that will hopefully encourage other people to knit with it, too!). The garter rib is delightfully squooshy, and I’m about to start the nupp-and-eyelet motif that will run up the front edges of the cardigan.

I’m hoping to have the cardigan pattern (tentatively named “Vahtralehe”, which, unless I am horribly mistaken, is Estonian for “maple leaf”) released before September, so as to allow anyone who wants to knit their own maple leaf sweater in time for Autumn the time to do so. It’s so hard to get patterns out in a timely manner when your time is primarily devoted to academic pursuits, but that’s my life right now, and I’m ok with it. I’d rather take a lot of time to write up a pattern for the occasional thing that strikes people’s fancy, than rush to write a bunch of patterns that won’t end up being as good.

7 thoughts on “le Tour, sans gansey?”

  1. Yes, I agree. Take your time to write a good pattern. And I really can’t wait until this is a pattern! I’ll drool on it a lot. ‘Course, my sweater-knitting career is nonexistent, but maybe… just maybe… I’ll really make an exception for this?

    1. I’d love to see lots of people knit this sweater up, so I hope you’ll make an exception! The pattern is coming along, slowly but surely…figuring out how to handle a wide range of sizes with those big lace leaves is such a challenge!


  2. I’m glad you’re finding time to knit during your teaching! Summer courses were always strange to teach: you have to rush through so much material, and it’s tough to get to know your students. How are you liking it?

    1. Thanks! I’m actually really enjoying this summer class…I only have 6 students, so it hasn’t been hard to get to know them. But OMG, the workload is intense. Keeping my energy up for 3 hours of class at a time, 3 days in a row, and doing all of the prep (prepping one “class” is liking prepping a whole week during the regular semesters), it’s intense. We’re almost done now…tomorrow is our “wrap up” day, then the next day, they present their projects, and then we’re done!


  3. I didn’t participate in the TdF KAL this year, either. Just had too much going on, plus the KAL has gotten a bit complicated (at least, in my opinion). Maybe next year…

    1. I ended up joining the KAL on Ravelry, and then not actually interacting with my “team” at all, which is too bad. Yes, maybe next year!


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